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business philosophy

Lording it

I was sitting in this fellow’s office, and he was absolutely lording it over me, and I wasn’t even sure why.

I’d gotten to know the owner of a small media company in Little Rock, and he’d wanted me to meet his director of production. I went over to the studio, got introduced, and then sat down in the fellow’s office to get to know him.

Here I was, the naive 24-year-old freelancer, confused as heck.

I was just a camera guy. I made websites on the side. I was broke, had a lot of acne, weighed 145 pounds, and just wanted to hang out around some other media nerds. I was no threat.

Yet somehow that didn’t matter – I was fresh meat and this guy was out for the kill.

He was in full steamroller mode.

I sat across the desk from him while he kicked back in his chair, flipped a massive watch around on his wrist, and dropped accomplishment bricks on me.

He’d graduated from NYU. He’d had a successful international law career. He’d owned a very high end publishing company. He pulled a massive hardback book down from the shelf and ran his fingers across the very expensive paper. He’d spent $80,000 on a print run of fancy portfolio books but no one bought them because they were too elite, so he closed the press.

Doesn’t seem like something to brag about to me, but he kept throwing large figures at me as if they would dazzle me.

Honestly, they did sort of dazzle me. I was trying to figure out how this clearly professional man in his forties was sitting in a dark interior office of a warehouse in Little Rock after having such a successful international law career and owning a fancy publishing house.

His jaw kept moving on and on, referencing Emmys and dollar signs and not remotely interested in anything I had to say.

Then it hit me.

I was a threat.

For the first time in my life, I knew what was happening while it was still happening (I’m usually slow on the uptake, so I realize these sorts of things retrospectively).

I sat there, amused instead of confused, as this guy continued to recite his resume to a nerdy freelancer half his age.

For many weeks, I thought back to that meeting, and to be honest it was a little frustrating. I couldn’t figure out why he thought it necessary to lord it over me so blatantly and so arrogantly. Was there something about me that was unlikeable? Was I actually that inferior? Were my goals delusions? Why pick me as the guy to intimidate?

I forgot about it.

Years later (today to be specific) I stumbled across a freelancer gig posting and thought I recognized the face.

After losing his position as director of production for that little studio down by the river, he has grown into a true titan of the media industry, naming himself president of his freelance media gig.

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